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Lower Hutt tobacco shop forced to change name

Sep 6th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest News, News

A HUTT business has had to drop the word tobacco from its name by laws – but it has not affected sales.

The Discount Tobacconist is now known as the Discount ‘T’ retail or trading names using the word tobacco are prohibited.

The laws passed in New Zealand on July 23 also prohibit the display of cigarettes.

It means stores and businesses cannot allow any tobacco product to be visible to the public, and tobacco prices cannot be displayed.

The Discount ‘T’ staff have not only had to hide their cigarettes, but also to cover the glass panels on their ornate cigar humidors.

Despite these measures, business owner Paul Cooper, left, says the change hasn’t affected sales of cigarettes or cigars.

“It’s all a bit crazy. We have to cover the cabinets, but the customer can wave them around in the shop and on the street as soon as they’ve bought them.”

Mr Cooper says this is the biggest physical change the store has seen in its seven year history.

“All it does is annoy the customer and retailer,” says Mr Cooper.

This is one of the biggest changes Mr Cooper has seen. However it follows a series of financial challenges over the past few years.

He says the business also took a financial hit due to a 27.2% increase in tobacco prices between 2009 and 2011.

He blames the co-leader of the Maori Party Tariana Turia who is an advocate for making New Zealand smokefree by 2025.

“Tariana Turia is the one pushing it all, and she’s a reformed smoker herself,” he says.

“The last figures from the Health Department estimate that the excise tax on tobacco has made $1.5 billion, while health costs associated with smoking are $600 million.”

“Smokers are the only ones who are paying their way with healthcare. They should have their own private hospital rooms and be served fillet steaks.”

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